Half a million citizens to be using Gov.uk Verify by April 2015

Government now expects to have nearly half a million people using its Gov.uk Verify service for online identity assurance by April 2015

The government now expects almost half a million people will be using its Gov.uk Verify service for online identity assurance by April 2015.

The target represents a short delay on previous plans for up to 600,000 citizens to be registered on the system by the end of this year, but the Government Digital Service has published a more detailed breakdown of which public services are moving on to Verify in the next few months and their predicted user numbers.

Verify first became available to the public last week, in a new digital service from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) for rural support, which allows farmers to submit information about how land is used to claim subsidies under the EU Common Agricultural Policy.

The aim is that all services that need identity assurance for individuals will be using Verify by March 2016, according to Janet Hughes, the head of policy and engagement for Gov.uk Verify.

“Between now and then we will gradually add more services and increase our ability to operate at the scale required for the full range of user needs and demand,” she wrote in a blog post.

“Many of the services we’re working with are themselves in the process of being developed, tested and scaled, so we’ll need to be flexible in response to changing plans and circumstances.”

Read more about Gov.uk Verify

Once Verify is fully rolled out, as many as 20 million citizens could be registered, with 10 million expected to be using HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) online services, and a similar number on Universal Credit.

By the end of this year, four services are expected to follow Defra in joining Verify, including HMRC’s change company care details for PAYE; DVLA’s view driving licence; redundancy payments from the Insolvency Service; and change of address for the Department for Work and Pensions. A trial version of HMRC self-assessment is also scheduled for this year.

In the first three months of 2015, tax credits renewals will also move on to the system, alongside PAYE self-service, transferable tax allowances and the new digital system for the controversial Universal Credit welfare reform programme.

“We’re starting with a combination of relatively small-scale services and small-scale trials with larger-scale services. What we learn in beta, developing Gov.uk Verify in an agile way, will help ensure we’re ready to meet the large volumes of users and peaks in demand that we’re expecting to see as new services come online,” said Hughes.

Verify – formerly known as identity assurance - is designed to make it possible for citizens to prove who they are online to safely and securely access digital public services. It will use a number of third parties to check users’ identities and allow citizens to securely use government services - working in a similar way to how Facebook and Twitter usernames and passwords can be used to log into other websites.

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